£3.5 Billion of Furlough Cash Stolen or Paid in Error says HMRC Boss

The leading HMRC boss says £3.5 billion of furlough cash has been stolen or paid in error!

£3.5 Billion of Furlough Cash Stolen or Paid in Error: Jim Harra, the top civil servant at HMRC, said between 5% and 10% of furlough cash might have gone to the wrong people.

Later, speaking to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee he said. “We have made an assumption for the purposes of our planning that the error and fraud rate in this scheme could be between 5% and 10%. That will range from deliberate fraud through to error.”

Subsequently, figures show that the Government has so far paid out £35.4 billion in furlough cash.  This means that £3.5 billion could have been paid out incorrectly.

“What we have said in our risk assessment is we are not going to set out to try to find employers who have made legitimate mistakes in compiling their claims. Because this is obviously something new that everybody had to get to grips with in a very difficult time.

“Furthermore, we will expect employers to check their claims and repay any excess amount. But what we will be focusing on is tackling abuse and fraud.”

It is the first time HMRC has spoken publicly about the level of fraud that could have been committed as part of the job retention scheme. Which covered up to 80% of an employee’s salary whilst being furloughed.

Previously, the Government introduced the scheme rapidly at the start of lockdown. Causing many experts to say that fraud was inevitable.

Currently, the scheme is now winding down and will end on October 31st.  Businesses who have brought staff back from furlough will receive another £1,000 if the employee is still in work by the end of January.

Generally, the figures show that 9.6 million people had been put on furlough.  1.2 million employers have claimed support.

The government has yet to comment on these figures.


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